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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Spaghetti alla Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese 1

I've made plenty of spaghetti through the years. Chopped an onion, diced some garlic, sauteed in olive oil, added in ground beef, and then dumped in a jar of pasta sauce. Basic. Filling. Good.

Sometimes, if I wasn't feeling too lazy, I'd make Spaghetti and Meatballs instead of a big pot of sauce.

And recently jazzed it up with the Chinese version, Zha Jiang Mian (Chinese Fried Sauce Noodles aka "Chinese Spaghetti").

But what I really wanted was something more-ish. Time to make a proper spaghetti with bolognese sauce. No more jars of pasta sauce. Well, there is a large can of whole tomatoes in the recipe, which I then crushed by hand, but bolognese sauce has less liquid than you might think. What stands out for me is the addition of bacon and red wine, and the finely diced vegetables. Can't resist how those peas just pop out at me.

Spaghetti Bolognese 2

Spaghetti alla Bolognese

For a big pot, you'll need:
4 strips of bacon, chopped
1 lb ground beef, or 1/2 lb ground beef and 1/2 lb ground pork
1 large onion, finely diced
1 large carrot, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 28-oz can whole tomatoes
2 cups red wine of your choice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup peas
8 oz spaghetti noodles
Parmesan cheese for garnish

Finely chop 4 strips of bacon. Saute in a large pot until a lot of the fat is rendered and the bacon is slightly crispy. Drain. I simply move the bacon to the sides of the pan and blot in the middle with paper towels until most of the grease is absorbed.

Add in diced onion and ground beef and saute until onion is softened. Add in finely diced carrots and celery and saute until they too are softened.

Add one 28-oz can of whole peeled tomatoes, squeezing the tomatoes with your hands until they break up. Dump in the tomato juice from the can as well.

Add in 2 cups of red wine, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Lightly cover and let simmer on medium-low for about an hour or longer if you like.

15 minutes before you plan on serving the pasta, add in the peas.

Boil the pasta.

Spoon the sauce over the noodles and dust a little bit of Parmesan cheese on top.

Spaghetti Bolognese 3


Similar saucy noodles:
Pasta Pomodoro (Italian Pasta with Tomatoes)
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Zha Jiang Mian (Chinese Fried Sauce Noodles aka "Chinese Spaghetti")

1 year ago today, Southern fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and cream gravy redux.
2 years ago today, chicken fingers for when I don't feel like making a whole meal of Southern fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and gravy.


  1. i love to make bolognese sauce and one of my favorite things to do is put the carrots, celery and onions into a food processor first and the cook that in the pan. the sweetness of the vegetables seems to infuse the sauce better and you don't get big chunks of crunchy vegetables in your sauce either :)

  2. I love your version WC! A great nickname for Bolognese sauce is 'Meat Pesto'.. :) It should be meaty, very reduced and on the dry side. I never come across it in Italian American establishments.

  3. SileightyMania,
    Does the food processor make the vegetables too mushy? I just take my time and slice everything very, very fine.

    Exactly! Not a lot of sauce compared to the standard spaghetti and the jar of pasta sauce.

  4. actually, you wouldn't even know the vegetables were there if it weren't for the taste. the only texture in my sauce is from the tomatoes, beef and cheese. plus it's faster for me to get food on the table for the hungry wife and kids.

    anyways, i just wanted to throw out a suggestion if you wanted to try it a different way :)

  5. Sileighty Mania,
    No problems with suggestions! Everyone has their own way of cooking.


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